Dec. 14, 2020

Flying on Private Planes, Forgetting To Take Gum Out, Blowing Leaves Blindly, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle traveling with VIPs on private planes, forgetting to take gum out at dinner parties, blowing leaves into neighbors' yards, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)

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  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: Flying on a private plane with a VIP person from the government
  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: How to disagree
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: What should I do about my neighbor's leaves? Was my massage therapist wrong for scolding me? What should I do with dirty sheets when a houseguest?
  • VENT OR REPENT: Gum at a business dinner, Giving enough space in line
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: Thanks to Nick, Thanks for winter flowers




Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


[Musical Introduction]

Nick: Do you sit in the wrong seat on a private jet? Do you blow leaves into your neighbor's yard? Do you forget to take out your gum? Were you raised by wolves?! Let's find out!

[Theme Song]

Here are things that can make it better
When we have to live together
We can all use a little help
So people don't ask themselves
Were you raised by wolves?

Nick: Hey, everybody, it's Nick Leighton.

Leah: And I'm Leah Bonnema.

Nick: Let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.

Leah: [Singing] Amuse-Bouche.

Nick: For today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about flying on a private plane with a VIP person from the government, specifically, when you get on, and where you sit.

Leah: I love how that's specifically the question, when the question is already so specific.

Nick: [Giggling] I read about all this in a book called Service Etiquette, which one of our listeners sent to us, which is all about military protocol, and etiquette. I've been reading it ... It came up, if you're going to fly on a private plane with a VIP from the government, where do you sit? How do you board? Let's say that you're flying on Air Force One, and let's assume you're not the president because I don't think we're ready as a society, for a President Bonnema yet. When do you get on the plane, and where do you sit? Then, assuming it's not a government aircraft, but one that's chartered, when do you get on, and where do you sit?

Leah: I would like to say I think that people are ready for President Bonnema, but moving forward, past that, I have no idea.

Nick: [Laughing] Okay. When it is a government aircraft, all of the junior personnel board first and take their seats before the VIP arrives. Then, the crew will make sure that the VIP person has their assigned seat. That's how that happens.

Leah: So, they'll tell you when you get on, "Go to the back," or "Go to the side."

Nick: Right, exactly, or it's said another way, like, "Oh, this seat here? That's taken ... You can sit somewhere else."

Leah: Right.

Nick: If you're on a chartered aircraft, which is not provided by the U.S. government, then the VIP person goes on first and picks their seat followed by the next ranking person. So, that's how that goes. The locations sort of vary. On Air Force One, basically, there's the suite at the front of the plane for the president, and then, behind that, is the senior advisors, and then VIP people, and then Secret Service. Then, all the way in the back is the press. Fun fact - the press actually does not take the stairs up the front, like you see on TV. They go up a separate set of stairs in the back.

Leah: Interesting.

Nick: Then, on a smaller aircraft, the VIP person will typically sit on the left because that is so that person can see the crowds of adoring fans when the plane lands.

Leah: Oh!

Nick: Rigth?

Leah: I really look forward to flying on a private jet.

Nick: Whatever you do, do not make the VIP person wait for you. That's a rule.

Leah: Oh, that seems like a good rule across all-

Nick: [Giggling] Right?

Leah: -across all vehicles.

Nick: Right. When you deplane you basically always let the VIP person get off the plane first and you stay in your seats. Then, when that person is off the plane, then you can get up. That's how that works.

Leah: Very good.

Nick: So, that's VIP travel with aircraft, and the U.S. government.

Leah: I love it!

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now it's time to go deep.

Leah: This one is a dish!

Nick: For today's question of etiquette, I want to talk about how to disagree. Disagreeing with strangers, acquaintances, coworkers, friends, family members ... Issues big, and small ... How do we disagree?

Leah: I mean, Nick!

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: What's funny to me- just yesterday, I was at my pharmacy, and I mean- I know the people that work there very well. I'm always there at a certain time, and we're all ... I've been in the same apartment forever, and we're very jovial. One of the gentlemen brought up a political statement to me, out of nowhere, that I firmly was very against.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I was standing there in the ladies hair section, and I was like, "I don't want to argue about this ..."

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: "But also, I don't want to let it slide."

Nick: Okay, so you were torn.

Leah: I didn't bring it up. It's not like I walked into somebody's place of work and started an argument.

Nick: Right.

Leah: I sort of felt like I got hijacked with an idea that I thought we all agreed we weren't going to be discussing in this area.

Nick: So, I think first thing to just note is that etiquette does not require you to always agree or be a pushover. You are allowed to disagree with people. There is a polite way to do that. Etiquette does not require you to always just agree or to just accept it.

Leah: Thank goodness, because I didn't-

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: -but I thought I disagreed very politely.

Nick: I think the first thing is always just to say, "Is this something that's worth disagreeing about? Should I bother disagreeing with this person?" I think that's always the first question before we even go there.

Leah: Oh, definitely.

Nick: If you're with a taxi driver, and they're like, "The New York Jets are gonna win the Super Bowl this year ..." Ya know ... What? Are you gonna disagree? Nah. Just be like, "Maybe!"

Leah: Oh, I would absolutely disagree with that. The Jets?

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: Here's the thing, though. Some things are fun to disagree on. I've definitely gotten into arguments with people I'm writing with about sports, but nobody ... It's like a fun banter.

Nick: Right.

Leah: That's a different kind of a disagreement.

Nick: Yes, that's fair. That's fair.

Leah: But the Jets are not! I'm not going to let that slide either! [Giggling]

Nick: I would let that go.

Leah: I most certainly would not.

Nick: But then, I think, okay, we're going to decide we're going to disagree with something. Then the question is: is now the right moment? Is this the good timing? If you didn't like this topic today, the time to tell me that you disagreed was not a minute ago. You had more opportunity before today to let me know you disagreed with something. That's an example of timing matters, when we disagree.

Leah: But if somebody brings something up to you, when you weren't ready-

Nick: Yeah, I think that would be an occasion to be like, "Okay, I hear what you're saying. I'm not prepared to have this conversation with you right now." I think you could say that.

Leah: You could say that. I think you could also say, "I don't really agree with that."

Nick: Okay [Giggling]

Leah: In a nonjudgmental, "Are. You. Insane Right Now?" way. Just be like, "Oh, I don't ... I don't agree with that."

Nick: Well, it is true. I think your tone and approach matters. I mean, I think when we talk about successfully disagreeing with somebody in a polite way, the tone, and the approach, I think that's where the rubber meets the road.

Leah: I also think it's very important to note I'm around a lot of people who like to argue things for the sake of disagreeing.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Which is not my thing, but I understand a lot of people like to do it. I would like to point out that, sometimes, when you're disagreeing with somebody, or arguing another point of view, you're not as affected by the thing that the person who you're arguing against is as affected by, so I think it's important to watch your tone, when you're arguing about something that may affect the other person more proportionally.

Nick: Is there an example you want to give?

Leah: I'm trying to think of a benign example.

Nick: [Giggling] Okay. It is true. There are people that like just being disagreeable for sport. That's just what they enjoy.

Leah: And they always say, "Just to play devil's advocate ..."

Nick: Mm-hmm. Yeah. We know what you're doing.

Leah: Then, strap in.

Nick: Buckle up. Yeah, and I do think that, when you disagree with somebody, that's okay. It's a way to actually understand their worldview a little better, like, "Okay, I don't see the world that way. Help me understand how you see something." It's a way to just understand someone better when they just have a different opinion than you. I think disagreements are not inherently bad, but I think if you are coming at it with a, "I just want to argue," then, that's not good, but if it's a, "Oh, I want to get to know you better. I'm curious. Tell me more about this interesting opinion you have."

Leah: I, ironically, absolutely agree with that statement. I think there's this fear that disagreement is wrong. In a lot of places, that's where we come to great conclusions where we talk things out.

Nick: Yeah, yeah.

Leah: But a lot of times, people do say things because they want to bait you, and that's where the disagreement-

Nick: Yeah. I think, for those people, if we can just not engage, that's probably your best bet. Just shut it down.

Leah: Yeah, I think a lot of times it's easier to let it go because people just want to have a disagreement, but sometimes, on some topics, I personally think it's okay if there are certain subjects that aren't subjects that you let go, and you don't have to fight with somebody, but you could be like, "That's not something that I think is okay."

Nick: Yes, this is a sincerely held belief, and that's just what it is.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Right, but I think we don't always have to come to an agreement, when we disagree with somebody. I think it's just a matter of feeling heard. Like, "This is my opinion, and I hear what you're saying, and I hear that this is where you're coming from. This is where I'm coming from." At the end of this, I don't think we need to now agree with the other person. That doesn't have to be the outcome. We can just understand we're just both coming from different places, unless we're trying to make a decision. Then, that's a different story.

Leah: Yeah. Then, you're going to have to find a third option, probably.

Nick: Right, but if it's just like, "Oh, this is how I see something; this is how you see something, then, we see it differently, but I hear what you're saying," and I think that's key. I think we want to assume good intentions about the other person. Your opinion is as valid as my opinion. At the end of the day [Giggling], as Leah rolls her eyes ...

Leah: Well, I was just thinking of the strangers on that one; how people come up, and give you ... You're like, "I can't."

Nick: Oh, well, strangers giving unsolicited opinions, that's a different category. That's just rude.

Leah: Right? That is just rude!

Nick: We don't have to engage with that.

Leah: We don't have to do anything with that. We can take that one off the table.

Nick: In my head, I was thinking, like, oh, we're at a cocktail party, and we're talking about something, and we have a difference of opinion. That's where I was going with this. I wasn't like- random people in the ladies hair aisle at the drugstore just spouting off unsolicited. Yeah.

Leah: I still try to be polite, but I think it's easy to be like, "That's a hard no for me."

Nick: At the end of the day, if you disagree, what is key is just to disagree with the idea, not with the person. Once we get more personal, or sort of more blanket statements, like, "Well, that's stupid," then we get less constructive, and it becomes less polite.

Leah: Definitely.

Nick: Let's role play. What is the best Halloween candy?

Leah: Oh, candy corn.

Nick: Um, okay, so that's obviously stupid. [Giggling]

Leah: That was an example of what not to say [Giggling] and what is-

Nick: Well, I mean, candy corn ... C'mon!

Leah: -said to me all the time, and I have a deep love of candy corn, and the amount of people that disrespect it!

Nick: Well, because it's just wrong, yeah.

Leah: It is not wrong! [Giggling] It is a delight. You're like, "What am I eating?!" The question-

Nick: Yeah, what am I eating?

Leah: It makes you just want to eat more. Ugh! It's such a gift!

Nick: Another way I could've handled that was, "Oh, that's interesting. Why do you like candy corn? Because, for me, I like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups."

Leah: Those are delicious, too.

Nick: "Tell me more about your world view, and why you feel that candy corn is a superior candy."

Leah: You know, it just really does something for me.

Nick: Yeah, I get that.

Leah: But I also love that you enjoy a Reese's Pieces.

Nick: Yeah. At the end of the day, it's whatever brings you Halloween candy joy. That's the correct answer for you.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Right. Great role play, Leah.

Leah: [Giggling]

Nick: I don't think that was helpful for our audience at all.

Leah: No, I think that was a good example.

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: I also think- I feel like I was sort of ... Have felt throughout my life that I was supposed to agree with people to make them feel good.

Nick: Oh sure.

Leah: I think, as you said earlier, disagreeing, it can be healthy, and that when one disagrees, one shouldn't feel like they should keep it down.

Nick: There is a time and place for when we want to disagree and not disagree. I think you want to pick your battles.

Leah: There are certain topics that I will not let slide - I don't care when it's brought up, and who says it because I find it morally upsetting.

Nick: Okay, yeah. I guess there are times when you should speak up, regardless. That's true.

Leah: I'll say it in a polite way, maybe, but I can't not ... Some things, I'm not letting slide. Maybe that means I have consequences, but that's fine with me.

Nick: Hm. Well, one thing I won't let slide ... Candy corn.

Leah: [Giggling]

Nick: It's not that good. It's just not.

Leah: I think this would work out because if we went trick-or-treating together-

Nick: We will definitely not overlap. That is for sure.

Leah: I'll just be like, "Can I have your candy corn?" Then, I'll give you my Reese's peanut butter cups.

Nick: That's a deal!

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now, it's time to take some questions from you guys in the wilderness.

Leah: [Howling]

Nick: Our first question is: "I'm writing in to ask if my being irked is justified. I have a neighbor who likes to blow his fallen leaves into the street, where eventually, the wind will carry said leaves into other people's yards and, in turn, shifting the responsibility of who cleans up the leaves onto their new owners. Am I right in thinking that this is boorish behavior? I'm prepared to accept your judgment." Woo! We have power.

Leah: I also ... That was such a fun thing to write at the end. I also wrote in capital letters, underneath it, "FREE YOURSELF. BE IRKED!" [Laughing]

Nick: Yes. Obviously, I don't have this problem in New York City with leaves.

Leah: We had the funniest thing happen. We were walking down the street, and people don't have yards. There'll be a little square in front of the house. This man in the next block - this recently happened. This made me laugh so hard - has a brand new leaf blower, and it's one of the fancy ones-

Nick: A leaf blower?

Leah: He's literally blowing-

Nick: 10 square feet, if that.

Leah: Not even that. He was having the time of his life. We started laughing halfway up the block, and then, we were like, "That's a great leaf blower!" He's like, "I wanted it so bad, but I only have this ... But I'm enjoying it!" You know what I mean? I thought of that when I read this.

Nick: Oh, wow. What? Is he going to get a riding lawnmower next?

Leah: He may. I think some people just get so excited about having a leaf blower.

Nick: Okay, that's fair. Just the exuberance of the having the leaf blower just makes them toss them into the street. Okay.

Leah: Yeah, I think the person who is the person who buys a leaf blower is just ... It's sort of like a lightsaber, you know what I mean? They're just walking around their yard, like Zhooooooo, zhooooooooooo, Zhoooooooooooooo [Insert lightsaber sound effects here]

Nick: It's like a lightsaber.

Leah: It's like some kind of a youth- like a fun toy!

Nick: Yeah. Okay, I get that. Uh, I mean, I feel like wherever the leaves land is who's responsible for them. I don't think we want to shift responsibility for the leaves. That's the general principle.

Leah: Which is the leaf blower is doing.

Nick: Right, so I think this is wrong.

Leah: Anywhere you put your leaves, unless you pile them, and then bag them, they're going to blow into somebody else's yard.

Nick: That is how leaves work. Yes.

Leah: That's how leaves work.

Nick: Yes. Mm-hmm.

Leah: So, I often see people raking, and then not bagging, and I'm like, why are you raking?

Nick: Yeah, what's the point? Also, I actually think that most places don't allow you to blow them into the street because they'll just go into the storm drain, so they actually don't allow you to blow them into the street. That's not allowed in a lot of towns, so I'm sure it's not allowed wherever this is taking place.

Leah: I think this person just wants us to say, "Yeah, you can be irked."

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I don't think they want us to do anything about it.

Nick: Well, what do we do? Should we say something? Maybe we should say something.

Leah: Do you want to say something?

Nick: I mean, to this neighbor?

Leah: How do you want to say it?

Nick: How often is this happening? How long is the leaf-blowing season?

Leah: I would say-

Nick: Are these deciduous trees? What's happening?

Leah: We can't even begin to make these guesses because we don't even know what part of the country it's in. For me to give a correct answer-

Nick: Or what country it is.

Leah: Right?

Nick: Although, I think this is the United States.

Leah: I think this is America.

Nick: [Giggling] Yeah.

Leah: I'm going to say, roughly, we're talking about September through November.

Nick: Okay, so we have a three-month window. Yeah, that's a long time to have leaves blowing into your yard. I think we could say something like, "Hey, Chad, love the leaf blower. Super cool. Like a lightsaber. Awesome. But some of those leaves are actually blowing into my yard, and I don't have a leaf blower, so I was wondering if maybe we could bag them up, or maybe I could borrow your leaf blower, and then I'll just blow them back, or something?" Could any of that work?

Leah: I feel like that could work.

Nick: I have to workshop it, but I feel like there is a nonjudgmental, value-neutral conversation you can have with the neighbor about, "Let's not just blow them into the street because the blowback ..."

Leah: I like what you just said. That, without a workshop, was ... It felt- every word was fantastic.

Nick: [Giggling] Okay.

Leah: You were like, "Hey," compliment up top, compliment up top-

Nick: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Leah: -and then-

Nick: Constructive, nonjudgmental idea.

Leah: Yeah, and one of them involving, "Can I borrow your leaf blower," because then you're being like, "So fun! Leaf Blower!" Then, of course, you're just going to blow it right back. Then, maybe they'll get it, at that point, but then you were like, "Or, we could bag them!" As if it's a group project.

Nick: Or, you could just report them to the town, and then have them cited-

Leah: Which always never feels good to me.

Nick: Yeah,you always get caught. It'll always get traced back to you somehow.

Leah: When you have to live near somebody, it's nice to try to maintain some comfortable kind of talking communication. "I came to your first" kind of a thing.

Nick: What's interesting, actually, about this question is it's the leaves blowing that's the problem, not the sound of the leaf blower. Because, for me, I bet I would be much more annoyed by the noise of the leaf blower than the leaves in my yard.

Leah: Well, I think it goes back to the wind chime question, which is: this is happening during the day, and during the day, especially in places where you have enough to have a yard, people are doing wood projects; there's sawing; people are outside working on their cars; there's music.

Nick: Building an ark.

Leah: Yeah, people are building arks. I mean ...

Nick: [Giggling] So, okay, you can be irked. Boorish behavior - is this boorish? I don't know if it's boorish, but I think it's inconsiderate, and probably they're not really thinking it through.

Leah: When I read "boorish behavior," I immediately visualize this person as having dirty short shorts on, and nothing else; you know what I mean?

Nick: [Giggling] What?!

Leah: Boorish behavior, that has to come with the outfit-

Nick: Dirty short-shorts?

Leah: You know I mean? Just like an outfit that felt glaring.

Nick: I see. I have a very different definition of boorish, but, okay ...

Leah: Boorish, for me, is much more aggressive.

Nick: Yes. I think this is not boorish. I think this is just more sort of inconsiderate and just sort of not really thinking through the consequences. Oblivious.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: I think he's oblivious. He doesn't understand that leaves don't go away once they hit the gutter.

Leah: Yeah. It's almost like you just want somebody to go by and say, "Leaves blow back."

Nick: [Giggling] Yes. Our next question is: "I started seeing a massage therapist and have had about five appointments with her to date. Before my first visit, she texted me telling me that the door to the building is locked. Don't panic, if I arrive early. From that first visit on, every time I'd visit, I would pull into the parking lot, and she would text me that she was ready for me. On my most recent visit, it was snowing out, so I left my house extra early to ensure an on-time arrival. I arrived about 10 minutes early and, in hindsight, I should have texted a "Hey, I'm here," but I didn't want to be a pest, and there was another car in the space where I usually park, so I moved a few spaces over, but I was still visible from the entrance. However, I didn't receive a text from her. Three minutes after my appointment start time, I texted her, "Hey, wanted you to know that I'm outside," to which she replied, "Please come in. I have a lateness policy." I go inside, and I say, "Oh, I'm sorry. I've been out there for ten minutes. You usually text me to come in. Maybe you didn't see me in the parking space?" She says rather curtly "Yeah, that's not how this works." Needless to say, I felt like I had been reprimanded, which made for a very awkward, less-than-relaxing massage. Am I being overly sensitive, or could there have been a more polite way for her to correct me and clarify her lateness policy?"

Leah: I wrote: "I would never go back to that woman again."

Nick: I wrote: "Eww." [Laughing]

Leah: That's all assuming, because that's me reading it exactly the way they wrote it, with the tones being- I felt her anxiety: where should I park? Oh, it's a different place. I don't want to bother her up top, texting.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: Then, apologize- genuinely meaning it, "Oh, sorry, I was out over on the side."

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I'm reading it exactly like that ... I know some people present it- they flip it, but I believe that our letter-writers would not do that.

Nick: Certainly not this one, right.

Leah: Not this one! I don't like this at all. I don't like the way this person spoke to you.

Nick: Yeah, actually, I wrote down: "Eww ... I don't like this at all."

Leah: YES! [Laughing] You got there early. The place was taken. You've never been late before. Why would she speak to you like this?

Nick: Also, it sounds like there was a system that was set up, which is: I show up, and when you're ready, you text, and I come in.

Leah: Yes!

Nick: It sounds like that's what we had been doing four times. On the fifth time, it sounds reasonable that we would also do that. I guess we could give her the benefit of the doubt. We can do a Leah Bonnema style, like maybe she's having a bad day, and didn't mean to come across this way.

Leah: I wouldn't give the benefit of the doubt in this one because ... I would give the benefit of the doubt on, "I have a lateness policy." That's where the benefit of doubt is, and then, when she went in and explained it already taking responsibility for something that she didn't have to take responsibility for because of what you said ...

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: Then, when that person was rude back, that's a one and done.

Nick: Yeah, this well is poisoned.

Leah: Then, she's going to touch your ...? I wouldn't- it's a very intimate-

Nick: Oh, you're not going to have a good massage after this encounter-

Leah: Ever!

Nick: -because you know, on the table for 45 minutes, she was replaying this scene in her head, over, and over, and all the angles; "Should I have done this? Should I've done this? What could I have done differently? Why did she yell at me? Why was it different this time from all the other times? Was it the snow? Was it the other car?" Yeah, this was a very horrible massage. Yeah.

Leah: I think it will be not good moving forward. I think you should not go back.

Nick: I wouldn't go back, no. I will say, massage therapists, they really do watch the clock though. They really do start, and stop on time. As soon as the second hand hits the minute mark when your massage is over, their hands are off of you. They've timed it perfectly. They will not give you another touch after that. Once it's done, it's done. You don't get overtime with a massage therapist, I've found.

Leah: Oh, definitely, and that's totally fine.

Nick: But I think the better way to handle it is, "Oh, okay, well, so you know, we will still have to end our appointment on time today." I think that would be okay.

Leah: Yeah, that's fine.

Nick: Be like, "Unfortunately, I can't give you the extra minutes on the back end. We'll still have to end on time today. In the future, make sure we can start on time."

Leah: I think that's absolutely fine.

Nick: I wouldn't love that, but I would be much happier with that response.

Leah: Yeah, also, is it unimaginable that this person would take responsibility for the fact that they always texted you every other time, and this time, they didn't?

Nick: Yeah, you have a track record here. Yeah. I think you were fine. You're not being overly sensitive, and I think you just need to find a new massage therapist.

Leah: I think so, too.

Nick: Yeah. Our next question is: "I was staying at a friend's apartment recently, when she and her husband were out of town for an extended trip. They have a one-bedroom, so I was sleeping in their bed. I was leaving Saturday morning, and they were returning home Saturday night, so we weren't going to overlap. I felt bad that they would be getting back late from the airport and would have to make their bed while jet lagged and tired, so I offered, over text, to wash the sheets, and remake the bed with fresh sheets before leaving in the morning, but she said, "Oh, no, don't worry about it." The laundry situation was also not something I could figure out on my own. It was in the basement, and it required a special key to get in. Obviously, I didn't want to go digging in their closet for clean sheets, so I resolved to just strip the bed, so it was at least halfway done without invading their privacy, but I also couldn't find their laundry hamper. I'm assuming it was in the closet, but I didn't want to go opening things, so I just left the dirty sheets folded on top of the bed with a sticky note, but it just felt weird to leave a pile of dirty laundry for them to find. What's the right move for next time?

Leah: I appreciate all of our overthinkers. I'm right there with you.

Nick: Yeah, a lot of overthinkers today, right?

Leah: I love it. I'm right there with you. These are the kind of things that I also go over all the different options with.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I understand when it's another person writing in about it because I see, oh, you're such a nice, conscientious person. Whatever you did is fine.

Nick: Yes, I think this was handled the best it could have been, given the circumstances.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: However, this is the type of thing to clarify prior to checking in. As you're making the arrangements to get the keys from your friend, and what time we're going to leave, and all that, one of the questions would be: "Oh, what would you like to do with the sheets?" Because what you could have done, had this been asked in advance, was, "Here's where the fresh sheets are. Here's the hamper. Here's the key fob you need to get into the basement. Here's the laundry cart." You could have gotten all that information in advance because I can see, we have this person in a different time zone getting a text from you, which is, "What do I do about the laundry?" You're on vacation, and you're like, "I don't have time to deal with this." "Just strip the bed. We'll deal with it when we come home. It's fine." I can see that's why you got that text, which is like, "Oh, it's fine," because she didn't want to deal with this, wherever she was in the world. I think what you did was fine, but I think better Etiquette 2.0, let's actually clarify more details in advance.

Leah: I love that idea because then it also- it just - as it does - alleviates anxiety.

Nick: Yes! Absolutely. Because you know the bed stripping is a thing that's going to need to be done. You knew that going in.

Leah: I also think, a lot of times, people just aren't thinking about stuff. That's why this is on our our sheet of things that we ask, but I do think the friend was probably like, "Oh, I don't care; don't worry about it."

Nick: The friend also might genuinely not care, and that's also fine, but I think, as a conscientious houseguest, it's nice for you to care, and try to make it as easy for your host as possible because it is true, if they're getting back late, and they're jet lagged, making the bed ... It's so annoying.

Leah: I also think- I do think our letter writer is conscientious. That's why ... They just didn't think of it at the beginning because so much was happening.

Nick: Yeah, many reasons why it may not have come up. I think the way they handled it, which was like, "I'll strip the bed so at least that's done. I left a little note. That's nice. I folded it up," nicely, hopefully, so that's good. Also, you gave me permission to do all that. You did say it was fine, and we can take your text message at face value.

Leah: I think take it at face value. I really think they're friends, and this is fine.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, anybody who you allow to stay in your house when you're not there, that is a special type of relationship. You don't just give your keys to your house to everybody.

Leah: My guess is that our letter-writer left everything else really nice.

Nick: Oh, this person? Immaculate. Yeah-yeah.

Leah: My guess is that, because of this close friendship, because, as you said, it's a special kind of friendship where you let somebody stay in your house when you're not there, if they really cared about that, they would have been like, "Here's the key to the laundry room," or "Hey, just so you know, sheets are in the closet on the left."

Nick: Oh, that's true. Yeah. If the host really had strong feelings about the bed thing, they would have also volunteered that information. Yeah, that's true. We all have our part to play. You have a part to play, and we want your questions. Please send them in; send them to our website,, or you can leave us a voice mail, send us a text message, (267) CALL-RBW (267-225-5729)

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now it's time to play a game we like to call Vent or Repent-

Leah: [High-speed Singing] Vent or Repenntttttttttt!

Nick: which is our opportunity to vent about some bad etiquette experience we've had recently, or we can repent for some etiquette faux pas we've committed. Leah, would you like to vent or repent?

Leah: [Giggling] You know I'm going to just keep closing out this month strong; going into the next one with another vent. I also want to say, real quick, I really appreciate that you let me try out a musical way of saying all of our Vent or Repents. [Laughing]

Nick: Mm-hmm. I'm a giver.

Leah: Do you want to go first? I'd also like to be a giver.

Nick: Sure! Happy to! For me, I'm going to vent.

Leah: WOOO!

Nick: I had a business-y dinner this week, and one of the people arrived at the table chewing gum. Okay, people chew gum. For a work thing, I would like for you to have removed the gum before you got to the table, but, okay ... Fine. We're seated, and he didn't take the gum out right away. I'm like, "When is he going to take the gum out?" You know that feeling where you're just anticipating something. If you were going to fill a balloon with helium, and you keep filling it, and filling it, and you're just waiting for it to pop because you know it's going to pop, but you're not quite sure when, and you can't take your eyes off of it ... I'm just watching his mouth chew this gum, and we're having conversations, but it's very out of body. I don't know what I'm saying. I'm just participating in small talk, and I have no idea what I'm saying because my internal monologue is like, *"What is with the gum?!"* Now, I'm going through different scenarios in my head. It was just like, "Well, maybe he's just forgotten he has gum in his mouth." Then, it was like, "Maybe it's prescription gum; maybe it's medically necessarygum," or then, I'm like, "Oh, maybe it's just horrible anxiety, and the gum is keeping him calm, and he just needs the gum." I'm going through all that ... It's quite a few minutes into this dinner now, and now they bring the butter and the bread to the table. I'm like, "Okay, well, now he's going to ask the waiter who just came for a cocktail napkin," because that's what you do with gum. You don't put in the cloth napkin; you put it in little paper napkin that you can ask the waiter for.

No, he reaches for the bread, and now he's buttering some bread. I'm watching this, and now it's like, you know when you get tunnel vision and the whole world just slows down and it just goes slow motion, and you just see this piece of bread raise off the table into his mouth, and I can see a little flash of green gum in his back molars as this is happening ... So, he takes a bite, and now he's chewing bread, and butter, and gum all together. This is, of course, the point when he realizes, "Oh, I have gum in my mouth." Then, he goes to the waiter, and be like, "Oh, can I get a cocktail napkin?" Now, he's removing a piece of green gum with bits of bread and butter stuck into it out of his mouth, putting it in a napkin, and of course, the rest of us at the table have to pretend like we didn't notice this. He's like, "Oh, sorry." We're like, "What?! What are you talking about? I don't know. ..." Me, of course, would be like, "What has just happened?" That's my vent, and, as a reminder, please take your gum out. Let's not eat food but gum.

Leah: I don't know if I've ever in my life seen somebody put food over gum.

Nick: I think this might be a first for me. Yeah, I can't recall another time when that has happened.

Leah: I'm also a person who chews gum in the wrong places. I think I've never- I've never! I would never!

Nick: It's hard to do. You've got to make an effort.

Leah: To get food in with gum, that's phenomenal work.

Nick: Mm-hmm. Well done. I love that.

Leah: I love the visual of you tunneling in on him.

Nick: It's just slow-mo and you're sort of like, "Noooooooo..." Yeah [Giggling]

Leah: Well, in a significantly less fun tone-

Nick: Uh-oh. What happened?

Leah: No, it's not even ... It was just a real New York moment.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: For people who don't live in New York, waiting in line, in New York, pre- any kind of pandemic ... I remember the first time it really jumped out to me. I was at a pharmacy, and you know how there's that line that you stay behind?

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: So, the person in front of you who's giving all of their personal information feels a modicum of privacy-

Nick: Yeah, we pretend that we don't hear everything, but at least it creates a little fiction.

Leah: On more than one occasion, I've been standing behind the line, and somebody will come up to me, and go, "Are you in line?" Because they're so irritated that I would not just be up in that person's business to let them know ...

Nick: Oh.

Leah: "I need you to move it along, so this guy behind me can move it along." When I first moved here, I was like, "That's aggressive!" I think I originally started explaining, "Oh, I'm in line. This is the ..." as if people didn't know. You know what I mean?

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: They're just being like, "Hurry it up. Don't give that person space. I don't want space. Pay attention." That's what it's like here, and not everybody, but that is a ...

Nick: Yeah, that's a fairly common New York experience.

Leah: Are you in line? Are you giving somebody an inch of space?! You must not be paying attention. Hurry up! That's a feeling here. Obviously, now, with people having to stand further apart in line, I feel 90 percent of everybody seems pretty onboard with understanding what this is.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: Obviously, there are people that seem to not get how space works, which we've brought up before; maybe they got lost in a phone conversation. There we are with benefits of the doubt. Maybe they're just jerk faces. I don't know. There are those people. But, in general, I feel like everybody's been pretty good.

Nick: Yeah, people are onboard.

Leah: I'm at the grocery store. It was raining, so I've got the fog glasses going on and off and on and off ... I feel like I'm sort of in a-

Nick: You're discombobulated.

Leah: I'm discombobulated, but I am in line! The cashier is talking to somebody; they're trying to fix one of the plastic flaps going to ... Obviously, they're working; they're trying to make it so everybody's safe. I am appropriately ... There's a person telling people when they can go next. I'm standing there fully attentive, not on my phone. I'm ready! This woman steps directly in front of me, and then goes up to the thing A) when they weren't ready, and B) in front of me. Then, the manager goes, "She was next."

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Then, the woman turns to me and goes, "Really? Were you next?" Just like that. With my foggy glasses ... Those people weren't even ready yet for people to go up there; trying to fix the plastic thing that hangs down. Then, you're going to be saucy to me because I was actually following the rules?!

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: And not pushing those people to hurry up? I honestly- I hate being punished, when I'm following the rules. I'm following the rules. You need to follow the rules. Because you have your mask on, and your glasses were foggy, maybe a person feels like they can lose their temper a little bit because nobody can recognize them behind their foggy glasses, and their masks!

Nick: Oh, you feel like people can get away with that behavior because you can't be recognized?

Leah: Why that woman had bad behavior, wherever she went, all the time, regardless of masks. I'm saying that, quite possibly, I raised my voice a little more than I normally would.

Nick: Oh, YOU did!

Leah: Yes.

Nick: I see. I see [Giggling] Uh-huh. Okay.

Leah: And it was very freeing. I want to let you know that.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I felt free!

Nick: I mean ... I'm not sure I can endorse this etiquette response.

Leah: I know. I was like, "Should this be a vent?" Then, I was like, "No."

Nick: [Giggling] Because you're NOT sorry about it.

Leah: I am not sorry at all because I was following the rules; I was being polite to the people who had to do their thing.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: She was already told by the manager, "Hey, you cut."

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: And then, she wanted to double down on her attitude problem.

Nick: Yes, I think she was caught and then, she felt shame, and then she lashed out at you.

Leah: Lashed out a ME!

Nick: Well, I'm sorry.

Leah: Thank you. It felt really good. I'm going to be honest.

Nick: No, I know you felt a lot of catharsis with this.

Leah: [Long, jovial laughter ensues]

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: So, Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I learned two things.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: Probably more than two things but it immediately jumps into my mind - I loved learning about getting on government planes.

Nick: You know, it comes up.

Leah: I think it's so cool. I love that we're learning this. Thank you again to the woman who sent it.

Nick: Oh, sure. Yes.

Leah: I also learned that people have forgotten they have gum to the point where their food goes into their mouth.

Nick: Yes, it's a thing that happens in this world, and I have seen it firsthand.

Leah: I would also like to say that I learned that you do this, and I do this, too, and that's why I love it so much that you went through all the things ... Maybe it's prescription gum. [Giggling]

Nick: Maybe it is!

Leah: I do all that. I love that. I love it so much.

Nick: I learned that you will not be shamed about your love of candy corn. You're proud of it. You're going to stand by it.

Leah: I'm going to stand by it!

Nick: Well, thank you, Leah.

Leah: Thank you, Nick.

Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening. If I had your address,contract I'd send you a handwritten note on my custom stationery. For your homework this week, I want you to do two things. First, I want you to sign up for our newsletter because you never know what we might be cooking up, and you'll find out about it in our newsletter first, so sign up our newsletter. Then, the second thing I want you to do is I want you to share us on social media with your followers, and friends. Just post something nice about us. Sharing is caring! We'll see you next time.

Leah: I love it. I love it. I love it!

Nick: Bye.

Leah: Bye!

[Instrumental Theme Song]

Nick: All right, Leah, it's time for Cordials of Kindness, the part of the show that you make us do, but I only give you 30 seconds. Ready, set, go!

Leah: I wanted to do a big shout out cordial of kindness to none other than the one and only Nick Leighton.

Nick: Oh! Another one? Did you run out of other ideas this week?

Leah: No, I didn't. I had like three.

Nick: Okay, well, I'll take it.

Leah: I haven't done one to you for a while.

Nick: Bring it. What is my cordial?

Leah: Well, your cordial is- I'm not sure if everybody listening knows that you edit all of these yourself.

Nick: I do, personally. It's true.

Leah: And you do the websites-

Nick: I do do the websites.

Leah: You're invested in all of the people's questions. I just think it's really incredible, and I so appreciate you!

[Buzzer Sound]

Nick: Aww, thank you.

Leah: I so appreciate you, and it's been- we're over a year, but it feels like it's been such an exciting journey!

Nick: It has been a journey. Yes! Well, thank you. That's very nice. My cordial - but I don't have one for you, this week; I'll have to come up with something next week to ...

Leah: No, you don't have to come up with something back!

Nick: [Giggling] For me, this week, we have and people are writing in - Thank you. If you want to send one in, you can. Somebody wrote in, "A woman in my neighborhood decided to share flowers from her personal garden before the frost killed them for the winter. She cut them and created stunning bouquets, and she set up a table in her driveway, and sold them to people in the neighborhood. I just love this idea. The flowers brought a huge smile to my face every time I see them on my kitchen table."

[Buzzer Sound]

Nick: Aww, that's very nice.

Leah: That's very nice!

Nick: So, winter flowers! Thank you!

[Buzzer Sound]